Be God’s

The Celebration of the Gospel
October 22, 2017 —20th Sunday after Pentecost

 Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s,
and to God the things that are God’s

 —Matthew 22.21

________We Gather as the Body of Christ______

GREETING
PRELUDE
8:15: In the Morning When I Rise arr. Sandra Eithun (Ringtones)
10:30: Grazioso  Arnold Sherman (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.
]

* CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader:  God you are our Creator, our Source; we are made in your image.
All:    We belong to you, and we praise you.
Christ, you are our companion and our leader; we are your Body.
We belong to you, and we thank you.
Holy Spirit, you guide us and empower us; we are vessels of your grace.
We belong to you, and we serve you.
Holy God, in praise and devotion we worship you.  Alleluia!

* SONG    We, Thy People, Praise Thee   Blue hymnal # 67

(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME]

____________ We Attend to the Word__________

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Pastor:   The grace of God is with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
God of love, help us to see ourselves with the eyes of love,
to see all that is in us that is loving,
and all that is not loving.
God, we recall when we have been in harmony with you, and we give thanks.
[silent prayer…]
We recall when we have been out of harmony, and we seek your grace.
[silent prayer…]
God of mercy, in Christ you have shown us your grace.
Forgive us, heal us, and perfect your love in us.

THE WORD OF GRACE
RESPONSE    Bless the Lord     Black hymnal  #2013

PRAYER
Creator God, we come from you, spoken into being by your Word, made in your image.  Speak to us now; re-shape us again by your Word of love, as a potter re-shaping a vessel. We belong to you.  Make us as you desire.  We pray in the name of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

OLD TESTAMENT      Exodus 33.12-23
[Moses asks God, “If you are pleased with me and this people, then show me.  If you are going with us on this journey, then we can go.  But if you do not go with us, we cannot go on.”  God replies, “I will go with you and give you peace.” Moses (still a little anxious) asks God, “Let me see you in all your glory.”  God says, “You can’t see my face: what you can see is my mercy.” God passes by, but only lets Moses see God’s back.]

Moses said to God, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me— even though you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

God said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” But Moses said to God, “All right, but if your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.” God said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”

Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” And God said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, YAHWEH.”  And God said, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. That is how you will see me.  But you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” And God continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”
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(10:30)  NEW TESTAMENT   1 Thessalonians 1.1-10
[Paul thanks God for the people of the church, and commends them: “When you received the good news of God’s grace, you didn’t just hear the words, you were changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and despite persecution you became examples of faith for other people.”]

From Paul, Silas and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our maker and the Beloved Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you. We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers.  We continually remember before our God Life-Giver your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in the Beloved, Jesus Christ.

For we know, dear siblings, beloved of God, that God has chosen you,  because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.  You became imitators of us and of Christ; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.  And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.  Christ’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia–your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for God’s Only Begotten from heaven, whom God raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
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GOSPEL          Matthew 22.15-22
[Some religious leaders try to trick Jesus by asking a question with no right answer: is it right to pay the temple tax? (The tax was required by Roman law and prohibited by Jewish law.)  Jesus answers them in a way that changes the topic from legal matters to our relationship with God.]

The Pharisees were plotting to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
RESPONSE: The Gospel of the Beloved, Jesus Christ.  All:  Thanks be to God.

SERMON

SONG  I Belong to You            Steve G-H

Beloved, I belong to you.
You give me birth; you make me new,
your image formed, by Spirit stirred.
You are the Song; I am your Word.

Whatever pains I may endure,
I still belong.  Your love is sure.
Since I am yours, your will I do.
I trust and give myself to you.

I am your coin to richly spend,
so spend me, God, as you intend.
You bless my end; you hold my worth;
send me to love throughout the earth.

Beloved, I belong to you.
Do with me what your love will do.
Bear me, and I, through ease or strife
will find in you eternal life.

CALL TO PRAYER
8:15: Faith Of our Fathers   arr. Sandra Eithun (Ringtones)
10:30: Prayer for Humanity  Linda Lamb  (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and forever.  Amen.

SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST

______ We Are Sent in Ministry to the World_____

OFFERING OUR GIFTS

*  OFFERING SONG    Make Me a Servant    Black hymnal  #2176

*  PRAYER
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts.  Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will.  You have made us your own, created us out of your love. Send us now as vessels of your grace for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.

THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

*  SONG    Breathe on Me, Breath of God   Blue hymnal #420

*  THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
RESPONSE    We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.

POSTLUDE     Lift Every Voice and Sing    J. Johnson, arr: Michael Ryan
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]

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